Sudan coup leader steps down as army seeks dialogue with protesters

Geraldine Edwards
April 14, 2019

"First of all, we don't know who's behind the military council", she said.

On Thursday, the military ousted 75-year-old Omar al-Bashir after months of street protests by citizens.

While recent events in Algeria and Sudan have been unique to those countries, analysts say the rapid downfall Bouteflika and Bashir are a warning to authoritarian leaders in the region that they will ignore popular anger, especially over economic grievances, at their peril.

The announcement of a future civilian government appeared aimed at reassuring demonstrators who had pressed for months for Bashir's departure and quickly resumed protests against army rule after his ouster on Thursday, calling for quicker and more substantial change.

The umbrella group organising the protests called on newly sworn-in ruler Gen Burhan to "transfer the powers of the military council to a transitional civilian government".

Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan will be the new head of the transitional military council, Ibn Auf said in a speech broadcast on state television on Friday.

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"Burhan is a high ranking officer within the armed forces, but basically he's a veteran soldier", said an army officer, who did not want to be named. "The Sudanese people have been clear that they are demanding a civilian-led transition now", a State Department spokesman said.

"All the 160 registered Malaysians in Sudan are accounted for and safe", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement today. He has close ties to senior Gulf military officials as he was responsible for coordinating Sudan's military involvement in the war.

Sudan's military leaders have sought to reassure people protesting against the coup that their only concern is public order, as a stand-off continues.

At least 13 people were shot dead on Thursday while another three people were killed on Friday, activists from the Sudan Doctors Committee said, claiming that the victims died "at the hands of regime forces and its shadow militias".

Asked whether the United States supported Bashir being put on trial before the International Criminal Court for Darfur atrocities, Palladino said: "We believe that the victims of Darfur deserve justice, that accountability is essential for achieving lasting peace in Darfur".

Organisers of the protests that have rocked Sudan since December vowed to press on until the whole regime was swept aside.

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"The chief of the transitional military council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has accepted the resignation of. the chief of NISS", the transitional military council said.

Salah Ghosh, the head of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), also quit his post, the country's new military rulers confirmed on Saturday. People chanted: "The second has fallen!" a reference to Ibn Auf and Bashir, witnesses said.

But demonstrators camping out outside army headquarters in Khartoum refused to disperse, rejecting Mr Ibn Auf as an ally of Mr Bashir.

"Many young girls, waving Sudanese flags, drove towards the protest site honking their cars and ululating", a witness said.

He pledged the military would stay in power only as long as it was needed.

The army has said it will oversee a transitional period followed by elections.

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Sara Abdelgalil, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, said the worldwide community should now focus on preventing a massacre in Sudan.

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